Trump Looked Into Attacking Iran Nuclear Site, But Stopped: Report

Advisors persuaded Trump to not strike on Iran as it could risk a greater conflict in last weeks of his presidency.

Updated
World
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US President Donald Trump met with senior advisors in the Oval Office on Thursday, 12 November to understand the US’ options for attacking Iran’s nuclear site Natanz in the coming weeks after reports of significant increase in Iran’s nuclear material by international inspectors but ultimately decided against taking any drastic measures, reported four current and former US officials on Monday, 16 November to The New York Times.

Trump had a meeting on Thursday to discuss what options were available to the US and how to respond to Iran with his top national security aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, his new Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The advisors persuaded Trump to not strike on Iran as it could risk a greater conflict in the last few weeks of his presidency, reported Reuters.

"He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he ultimately decided not to go forward," the official said to The New York Times.

Iran’s Nuclear Stockpile Can Produce Two Weapons: Reports

Trump requested the meeting a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN nuclear watchdog reported on Wednesday, 11 November that Iran’s uranium stockpile was now 12 times larger than permitted under the nuclear accord that Mr Trump abandoned in 2018. The agency noted that it was not provided access to another suspected nuclear site where past activity was reported, according toThe New York Times.

Iran now has a stockpile of more than 2,442 kilograms, or over 5,385 pounds, of low-enriched uranium. That is enough to produce about two nuclear weapons, according to an analysis of the report by the Institute for Science and International Security, the report added.

In Trump’s presidency, he has taken an aggressive stance against Iran by imposing severe economic sanctions against the country, and had also withdrawn from predecessor Obama’s July 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran. Iran continued to adhere to the accord despite Trump’s 2018 sanctions, however, last year, Iran declared that “if Mr Trump felt free to violate its terms, they would not continue to abide by them” and slowly began to edge out of the limits of the accord, reported The New York Times.

Strike to Pose Foreign Policy Challenge for Biden

On 3 January 2019, the Trump administration had ordered a drone strike that killed Major General Quassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps at the Baghdad airport. Officials told The New York Times that they were nervous about the impeding anniversary of the strike and that Iranian leaders have frequently declared that the death of the leader has not been avenged yet.

Trump, however, to appeal to his voter base, has always sought to withdraw US troops from global conflicts to stop “endless wars”, reported Reuters. But officials said to The New York Times that Trump’s stance against taking action on Iran could change if any Americans are killed before Biden’s Inauguration Day.

A strike on Iran would result in a serious foreign policy challenge for Biden, who is to take office from Trump as US President on 20 January, added Reuters.

(Inputs from Reuters and New York Times)

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